Sean Young probably isn’t a household name for many people other than massive Blade Runner fans. She was poised to take over Hollywood at one point though, believe it or not.
Born Mary Sean Young in 1959, she grew up moving around between Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan. Young discovered a love of ballet and acting while attending school, going on to ballet school after she graduated, before taking up modeling and eventually acting.
Moving Up Fast
While her first break into film wasn’t anything to write home about, Young persisted though, going on to star alongside Bill Murray in Stripes before landing a classic later in 1982, appearing in Blade Runner.
Blade Runner would both make Sean a star and begin her career troubles, as the actress has said Ridley Scott was one such director who would later try to blacklist her from Hollywood. Despite all that, Young turned in a riveting performance as Rachael, the replicant love interest in Blade Runner. Young would go on to both success and ruin from here.
1984 saw her cast in the role of Chani Kynes in David Lynch’s Dune adaptation, which was loose at best with the space opera. Young would film a documentary behind the scenes about Lynch’s directing of the film, and speaks fondly of working with the director. Lynch, who appears to be one of the grumpiest men in existence, is seemingly a swell guy in real life by all accounts.
Downhill From Here
Young would see a downturn in her career starting in the mid-80s and early 90s, with multiple allegations of being difficult to work with as well as erratic behavior. Young was very outspoken, frequently talking about the abuses at the hands of Hollywood execs like Harvey Weinstein years before the #MeToo movement took shape.
This is what Sean Young blames for her downfall, along with turning down director Warren Beatty and bringing up allegations about Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott, among others. At the time Hollywood decried her as a crazy diva, but hindsight is 20/20, and Young has been proven correct about Weinstein. She would go on to have a very public “relationship” with James Woods, who would claim she was stalking him.
It was too late for her career though, losing out on roles like Marion in Indiana Jones and Catwoman in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns, despite making very public scenes of dressing as Catwoman and begging for the part.
She was originally supposed to play Vicki Vale in Burton’s 1989 Batman, but unfortunately broke her arm during the first few days of filming and had to be replaced.
With the roles drying up by the mid-90s despite a comedic turn in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (“Einhorn is Finkel, Finkel is Einhorn!”), Sean Young was forced into low to no-budget films and shows for the next couple of decades.
Young’s personal life was going well at least, as she married her boyfriend of five years Robert Lujan in 1990. They would have their first child together in 1994, and a second in 1998 before divorcing in 2002.
Sean had a bad run in the 2000s, starting with the divorce and diving deeper into her alcoholism. Young would enter a rehab facility in 2008, allowing known parasite Dr. Drew to film the process of her recovery for his show Celebrity Rehab. Young claims she has remained sober to this day.
Good Things Ahead?
Sean Young and Robert Lujan would reconcile and remarry in 2011, with the couple still married today. Things seemed to be taking a turn for the actress before two extremely public incidences of assault and theft, respectively.
In 2012, while trying to enter an Oscars after-party uninvited, Young slapped a security guard who was just doing his job. This led to an arrest with no charges filed. Young would claim the security guard initiated the encounter, leading her to assault him.
Side note: In 2015 Young starred alongside quite a few others in the fan film Star Trek: Renegades which was partially shot in a storage unit in my middle-of-nowhere swamp town. Also on one of our local trains. Why? Beats me.
2018 saw the actress under investigation for the theft of two laptops containing movie footage from a studio office. Young and her son had been caught on camera taking the laptops with them, with the studio claiming Young had just been fired from directing a feature. In response, the laptops were returned with Young claiming that it was a publicity stunt by the studio.
Career Killer Speedrun
The theft incident killed almost any steam she was building back into her career. She had somewhat reprised the role of Rachael for Blade Runner 2049 and had a recurring role on The Alienist alongside Daniel Bruhl and Luke Evans. She was inching her way back before losing it all, blaming others again.
While she’s still acting, none of her roles have been anything above independent shorts and mockbusters by Asylum. She had the distinction of starring in Planet Dune in 2021, totally not trying to capitalize on the 2021 Dune remake starring Timothy Chalamet. I did everyone the favor of watching it on 4x speed. It’s bad. Really bad.
On a positive note, Sean Young is set to make her New York stage debut in the Off Broadway production of Rider McDowell’s play “Ode To The Wasp Woman.”
She will portray Susan Cabot, a B-movie star known for her role in the 1959 cult classic “The Wasp Woman.”
The play, starting previews on October 30 at The Actors Temple Theatre, delves into the final 48 hours of four 1950s B-movie actors: Susan Cabot, George Reeves, Carl ‘Alfalfa’ Switzer, and Barbara Payton.
The official opening night is slated for November 9. Young described the play as a reflection on the challenges faced by ambitious Hollywood individuals.
Look, there’s no doubt Sean Young was a victim of Hollywood. With today’s knowledge and looking back, she was certainly ahead of the time when it came to feminism and standing up against predators. That said, Young has taken the recent route of “everyone else is wrong except me” which is never a good look.
These days Young continues in D-movie stardom, saying she can’t be cast by Hollywood now due to her age. Sean Young has been vocal about her belief in conspiracy theories and the deep state in recent years, which is uh… yeah. Weird times.
Sean Young recently moved to Atlanta with her husband, which she says is a much more peaceful place to live. The words “Atlanta” and “Peaceful” have no business being in a sentence together, and anyone who’s driven on I-85 knows that. She also recently appeared on the TCM Classic Cruise along with Chevy Chase, expert asshole.